Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Forms Training
by Master C. Terrigno - 6th Dan
Editor - Tang Soo Do World

Forms training is both an application of Tang Soo Do fighting techniques and an artistic expression of those techniques. It has internal (Neh Gung) as well as external (Weh Gung) attributes and benefits. Internally, we are exercising the vital organs and developing internal energy and power (Ki) through proper breathing. Externally we learn how to control that power in the execution of the physical techniques in increasingly complex patterns against multiple opponents.

As an art form, hyung practice should demonstrate not only the fighting applications from a technical aspect, but also the artistry of good presentation, and that requires more than just exhibiting strong fighting skills. That aspect is a function of the mental and spiritual (Shim Gung) state of the practitioner.

In practicing forms, or learning a new one, it is useful to break the form down into components, working on different ones individually and then adding them together. Phase 1 can be considered the basic, or rough draft stage while Phase 2 adds more ingredients that help the form take shape and strengthen it. Phase 3 can be considered the "polishing" phase where refinement of the form takes place.

Phase 1
- Understand the characteristics of the form
- Learn the overall pattern of the form
- Learn the individual movements and integrate them into the form's pattern

Phase 2
- Focus on breathing, tension / relaxation and power control
- Concentrate on the rhythm of the form
- Practice with a sense of awareness and realism

Phase 3
The final step would be to evaluate the form in its totality, much like a painter stands back to look at his art from a distance. This perspective deals with the overall composition of the form and should consider three things:  Line, Speed, and Beauty.

Line (Suhn) is about extension. It is characterized by longer stances and techniques extended within their full range of motion, rather than short, restricted movements. It is also about solid stances and smooth transition from one position to the next.

Speed (Sohk) is best reflected by variation in timing of directional movements as well as the speed of the techniques themselves. Avoid static, predictable timing between techniques. Some movements will be executed individually and others in combinations with varied timing. Some moves are explosive and others more relaxed and contemplative.

Beauty (Mee) is the overall impression you create with your interpretation of the perfect form. It is a feeling experienced by the performer and transferred to the observer. Like a painting, if the audience felt or saw your inspiration, it's presentation would be considered successful.

The Forms of Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do)

The following list includes all the traditional Tang Soo Do forms as well as forms that were later introduced by Grandmaster Hwang Kee, which may or may not be part of your curriculum.


Form (Hyung) Name

Form Characteristics

Kee Cho Hyung Il Boo
Kee Cho Hyung Ee Boo
Kee Cho Hyung Sam Boo

Basic movements

Pyung Ahn Cho Dan
Pyung Ahn Ee Dan
Pyung Ahn Sam Dan
Pyung Ahn Sa Dan
Pyung Ahn O Dan
Turtle - To impart balance and comfort
Bassai (Ba Sa Hee) Cobra - Light, fast
Nai Han Ji Cho Dan
Nai Han Ji Ee Dan
Nai Han Ji Sam Dan
Horse (horse riding stance) - Heavy, strong
Jin Do Crane (One leg stance) - Active, light
Lo Hai Crane (One leg stance) - Poise, grace
Kong Sang Koon Eagle - Active
Sip Soo Bear - Powerful, slow
Sei Shan Preying Mantis - Semicircular steps
Wang Shu Bird - Speed control
Ji-On Mountain Goat (some say the Ram) - Hard and soft
O-Sip Sa Bo Tiger
Hwa Sun Pure Flower
Yuk Ro Cho Dan (Du Mun)
Yuk Ro Ee Dan (Joong Jol)
Yuk Ro Sam Dan (Po Wol)
Yuk Ro Sa Dan (Yang Pyun)
Yuk Ro O Dan (Sahl Chu)
Yuk Ro Yuk Dan (Choong Ro)
Top or Great Gate (Entering the Gate)
Cutting the Middle (or Center)
Embrace the Moon
High Whip
Killing Scale (Killing Hammer)
Jumping, Capturing (Seize and Capture)
Chil Sung Il Ro
Chil Sung Ee Ro
Chil Sung Sam Ro
Chil Sung Sa Ro
Chil Sung O Ro
Chil Sung Yuk Ro
Chil Sung Chil Ro
Seven Stars 

Click to see "Tang Soo Do Hyung / Karate Do Kata: A Comparison"

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